Osomcom POCSAG

Fully functional POCSAG (beeper/pager) network

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Did you born before 1990? Don't you miss your pager? Those little reliable devices that were able to run for months with a single AAA battery...
Do you still have one in an old box? Would you to like to run your own pager network and give pager signal to all your neighborhood?

Then, take a look to this project!

Osomcom POCSAG is a free implementation (open software / open hardware) of a POCSAG network that allows to create a 100% functional pager (AKA beeper) network.

It has been designed in order to minimize the cost in time and money of the network deployment and to simplify the process of extending the network capabilities.

Thanks to a mesh of cheap base transmitter nodes composed of a Raspberry PI and a specific designed radio board is easy to provide coverage to small and medium areas. A master node controls the network status and synchronize the message transmission process.

OSOMCOM POCSAG is a free/open implementation of a POCSAG that allows to implement a real and functional network for sending messages to pagers or beepers.

This network features:

  • Multi-node network that allow to extend easily the coverage.
  • Possibility to work as a private closed network or as an open public one. As a public network, anybody could install a node in his home and register it in the public network to extend its coverage (similar concept to the FON and FONERA WIFI network).
  • Supports:
    • 512, 1200 and 2400bps transmission
    • Alphanumeric, numeric and ringtone messages
    • Multi-channel transmission (can transmit in different frequencies)
  • Simple anti-collision system to allow the overlapping coverage of close nodes working at the same frequency.
  • Groups support to allow mass sending.
  • RIC scanning (useful for discover an unknow RIC or for spamming)
  • Web interface to manage subscribers, groups and nodes and to send messages.
  • Public web API (REST interface) to operate with third-party applications and implement new features (ex: email-to-POCSAG bridge).
  • VERY CHEAP hardware. Each node transmitter cost around 15€ (plus 20€ for a Raspberry PI or similar board).

The network consist in one or more transmitter nodes, each of them is composed of a radio board that implements the full POCSAG stack and a low cost computer – like the Raspberry PI – that connect the node to the rest of the network using TCP/IP and a web API.

The network is controlled by one master node that manage the nodes and send them the messages to transmit. The master node also runs an admin web interface to manage the network, the subscribers and sending messages.

More details about the project can be found here:

  • 1 × Raspberry PI Every node of the network uses a Raspberry Pi
  • 1 × ADF7012 Integrated radio transceiver
  • 1 × PIC 18F14K22 Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, DSPs / ARM, RISC-Based Microcontrollers
  • 1 × Lot of resistors, coils and capacitors

  • Next hardware version

    Ramiro08/21/2014 at 01:25 0 comments

    I already have been working in a new hardware version. 

    This new hardware use a ARM processor instead of a PIC, has USB and TCP/ETHERNET support and can modulate not only in digital modes but also in analog. That means that is not limited to be used for POCSAG but can be used with  other protocols like APRS, FLEX or just analog FM for voice transmission.

    The first three boards have been already built and I am in process of developing the firmware. So far I have been able to transmit digital FSK packets and analog NFM voice transmisions. In the next week I hope to be able to build the entire POCSAG stack and for the next week I will develop a simple APRS stack.

  • What is working right now?

    Ramiro08/21/2014 at 01:13 0 comments

    I already built a first prototype of the hardware and software. With it, you can deploy a fully functional network with as many users, groups, nodes/antenas, etc as you like.

    However, there is still a lot of work to be done. 

    From the hardware part, the most important thing is the power of the BTS. 20mW (14dBm) is enough for deploying a small home network but not enough for larger ones. I expect to put something between 500mW and 1W for a future revision.

    Also, a TCP-IP support in the BTS boards is something desirable so the BTS and BSC can be integrated in a single board and there is no need of using a Raspberry PI.

    From the software point of view, the next feature I would like to add is anticollision support to avoid collisions between close BTS.

  • Uploading documentation

    Ramiro08/19/2014 at 22:44 0 comments

    Uploading and updating the details! 

    I am a little bit late for participating in the contest... but I am trying.

  • Signing up!

    Ramiro08/19/2014 at 22:22 0 comments

    Just signing up to the Hackaday prize!

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untergrundbiber wrote 01/19/2015 at 00:19 point

I have been following the project since you have it posted on your homepage. I had been looking for a simple hardware to revive my old pager (german Skyper).
Network support sounds really great, as is the current status of the project?

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OneShot Willie wrote 08/20/2014 at 02:45 point
It sounds like a great way to broadcast data to several devices at once too...

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PointyOintment wrote 08/20/2014 at 00:29 point
I must admit that I clicked on this project entirely because of the strange-sounding name. It's a pretty interesting project, though.

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